Street Photography with a Compact Camera (feat. the Ricoh GR II)

Are you tired of lugging around heavy and bulky camera equipment just to capture the perfect street shot? If so, then look no further! In this blog, we will explore the exciting world of street photography using a compact camera, with a special focus on the Ricoh GR II. Street photography is all about capturing the essence of a moment, the raw and unfiltered emotions that unfold in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And with the Ricoh GR II, you’ll have a powerful tool at your fingertips that combines portability, ease of use, and exceptional image quality. Join us as we delve into the art of street photography with this compact powerhouse!

Street Photography with a Compact Camera (feat. the Ricoh GR II)

Street Photography with a Compact Camera (feat. the Ricoh GR II)


I recently picked up another camera for street photography and I’m in Amsterdam at the moment stuck in a hotel room and it’s pouring with rain outside so I thought I’d just make a quick video explaining why I chose to pick this little camera.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Camera

The reason I tell you about gear and this is the only reason is that I want to share with you the reasons why I chose particular cameras to get you to think about your own WHY, which is things like how do you shoot and what are your specific needs, so that you can get the right camera in your hand.

I would imagine if you do that properly, more times than not you’ll be making very different gear choices than I make because we all have very different needs and shooting styles.

Most of you will know that my main cameras are Sony a7 3 and I picked that up because I needed something very lightweight and because I am equally a photographer and a filmmaker it just ended up being the perfect camera for me to do all the little things that I do.

When I shoot on the street with the a7 3 I team it with the tiny plastic Sam young 35 2.8 lens. It gives the camera a really nice shallow profile when shooting on the street.

Despite the fact that it’s a cheap and plasticky lens, it produces really sharp images and makes the camera small and lightweight.

The Need for a Compact Camera

So why did I pick up another camera for street photography? I found that when I went out, especially to shoot street, I would usually take a bag with me. The point of this bag was always to be able to take enough stuff that I could shoot video, shoot good audio, shoot street photography, and shoot portraits all out of one small bag. This meant that I always had something in my pocket to take decent images with, even if I didn’t have a bag with me.

That’s why I picked up the Ricoh GR II. I managed to get it for about 400 bucks because this is not a new camera. This camera has been out about four or five years now. It did a lot of the things that I wanted but I didn’t have to spend too much money because this was never going to be a main camera for me.

Choosing the Ricoh GR II

For a camera that goes with me every day and just sits in my pocket, shooting on my phone may seem like an obvious choice. However, I wanted to shoot in manual mode and be able to change my manual settings on the go, which is not as easily done on most phones. The Ricoh GR II allowed me to do that.

I did look at other compacts like the Sony RX100 Mark 4 and the Canon G7X Mark 2, both of which allow shooting in manual mode. However, I chose the Ricoh GR II because it had really sharp images, good glass, and most importantly, a larger sensor size. The APS-C sensor in the Ricoh GR II allows for big, sharp images while still maintaining quick manual control while shooting.

The Trade-offs

The trade-off with the Ricoh GR II is that it has a fixed focal length, meaning there is no zoom. You have to use your legs to get close to subjects. It does have a built-in crop mode, but that results in loss of resolution. Personally, I prefer shooting wide and cropping myself in post if needed.

Features of the Ricoh GR II

The Ricoh GR II has several features that make it great for street photography. It is easy to shoot with one hand, fires out really fast, and all the controls are conveniently placed on one side of the camera. It also fits neatly in a pocket, making it highly portable. The image quality is surprisingly detailed and sharp for such a compact camera.

One of the great little features I enjoy is the snap focus. It allows for quick shooting by setting a specific distance away from the camera as the focus point. This is perfect for reactive street photography as it ensures quick and accurate shots when subjects come close to the camera.


The Ricoh GR II is a perfect option for those looking for a compact camera for street photography. Its small size, sharp images, and quick manual control make it a great companion for any photographer on the go. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive cameras, it offers a reliable and affordable option for capturing stunning images on the streets.

FAQ: Street Photography with a Compact Camera (feat. the Ricoh GR II)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is street photography?

Street photography is a genre of photography that captures candid moments of daily life in public places, often focusing on people, architecture, and the atmosphere of urban environments.

2. What makes a compact camera suitable for street photography?

Compact cameras are lightweight, portable, and discreet, making them ideal for capturing candid shots in busy streets without drawing attention. They often have high-quality image sensors and fixed prime lenses that allow for quick and spontaneous shooting.

3. Why is the Ricoh GR II popular among street photographers?

The Ricoh GR II is a highly regarded compact camera among street photographers due to its exceptional image quality, compact size, and its 28mm equivalent wide-angle lens that is ideal for capturing street scenes. It also offers advanced manual controls and Wi-Fi connectivity for easier image sharing.

4. What are the advantages of using a compact camera for street photography?

Using a compact camera eliminates the need to carry heavy and bulky equipment, making it more convenient for capturing spontaneous moments. Compact cameras also allow photographers to blend in with the crowd, resulting in more natural and authentic street photographs. Additionally, their wide-angle lenses provide a broader perspective of the scene.

5. Are there any limitations to consider when using a compact camera for street photography?

While compact cameras are great for many street photography scenarios, their small sensors can struggle with low-light situations, limiting their performance in nighttime or indoor environments. Additionally, the fixed lens may not offer as much versatility as interchangeable lens systems.

6. How can I improve my street photography skills with a compact camera?

Some tips for enhancing your street photography with a compact camera include: practicing to improve your timing and anticipation, developing a good understanding of your camera’s settings and capabilities, utilizing the camera’s zone focusing feature for quick adjustments, and experimenting with different angles, perspectives, and compositions.

7. Can I edit and post-process street photographs taken with a compact camera?

Absolutely! Compact cameras, including the Ricoh GR II, typically shoot in RAW format, allowing for extensive editing possibilities. You can use various software and applications, such as Adobe Lightroom or Capture One, to enhance your street photographs and bring out their full potential.

8. Are there any legal considerations when practicing street photography?

In most countries, street photography is legal as long as it is conducted in public spaces and respects the privacy and dignity of individuals. However, specific laws and regulations may vary, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local legalities and be respectful towards people’s privacy.

I hope you find useful my article Street Photography with a Compact Camera (feat. the Ricoh GR II), I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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